Why Interviews are just like Texas Hold-em Poker!!!

Comparing Job Interviewing with a game of Texas Hold 'em Poker, written by Sharon B. Cohen, MA, CPRP - Career Advisor~www.linkedin.com/in/sharonbcohenmaAs a University Career Counselor, I've worked with thousands of students and clients over the past 10 years.

I've been teaching interview skills for a long time,
but I only learned how to play poker.
I was amazed at all the strategic similarities!

Interviews are a game and the best player wins, not necessarily the smartest, or the most deserving. Learn how to win at the interview game with a bit of luck & lots of skill...

Before we get started, let me tell you what you will need:

52-Card Deck Hopefully, you are more than a 1 trick pony.
To stack the deck in your favor: conduct extensive research on the companies’ mission, history, vision, LinkedIn contacts. Highlight your strengths using the STAR system of interview answers. Think of a job-related story to illustrate a key accomplishment. List the situation, task, action & results which you have achieved on the job)

Chips & lots of them (an expensive suit, good grooming, shined shoes). Research shows that men 'score' extra credibility points for being tall & women 'score' extra credibility points for being attractive. As superficial as it sounds, appearance counts. Since most of us are not super models, do what you can to look presentable.

2-20 Players Imagine you are in the World Series of Poker, you may have 2 serious competitors or 20.  In the final rounds of interviews, you've knocked out the less skilled players. The best players remain. Be confident & project your strength.

A dealer button If you have an inside connection in the company, a friend or relative, they may help “reshuffle the deck for you” or give you more favorable odds of winning the job.  They can help you bypass the traditional, company job board and Human Resources. Your insider connection may give your resume directly to the hiring manager or set up a coffee meeting to introduce you directly to the manager. This is ideal!

In Texas Hold ‘em Poker, the two players to the left of the dealer put out blind bets. The other “players” are your competition and they plan to win. Every player must bet (either a small or a big blind). This is necessary in order to raise the stakes of the game or interview…

Note: there will be many more competitors than would fit around an average poker table. You do not know what the other candidates are 'bringing to the table' or who is 'bluffing.' It is a combination of luck & skill. All you can do is work with the cards you have been dealt.

Here is what the employer wants:

1) To learn if you are the right person for the job.

2) To assess your potential for promotion, in the future

3) To decide whether you will fit into the company environment.

Every player is dealt two cards, face down. These are called hole or pocket cards. In an interview, your two cards are your education & past experience. Hopefully, they are good cards, reliable cards & versatile cards. Leverage your skills & experience by providing examples of how you either made your past employer money or saved them money. Show the Return on Investment, if you were hired.

The action or the first move, falls on the player to the left of the big blind. They can either call the bet, raise it, or fold. The action of play moves around the table until it's your turn. During interviews, you hold your cards, close to the chest or only put your “best skills” on the table. You hope these skills will be enough to win the “first round” of interviewing. Both the candidate & the employer, can “call, bet, raise of fold/withdraw from the interview competition.

These are the most common interview questions or “the action”

Tell me a little bit about yourself.

Describe your current / most recent position.

What made you want to make this change?

What do you most enjoy doing in your current /most recent position?

Describe your future ambitions. How would you describe yourself?

Betting continues around the table, clockwise. Each candidate competing for the job, is “betting on their odds.” Hopefully, you will be able to keep “raising the stakes” & keep showing that you have additional “bets” or skills to offer the employer.

3. After the betting is completed, three cards are dealt face up in the center of the table, are referred to as the "flop." Often during the interviews, the employer will highlight the key features of the job. If you listen carefully, you will remember these “cards” & describe how you can fulfill these job requirements.

These cards are “community cards” meaning everyone can (and will) use them in combination with their own hole cards to make the best hand. By the second round of interviews, all the players will have similar education & experience levels, & will all know the community cards or “what the employer wants.” To be strategic, you have to “add to the hand” & convince the employer that you can bring something extra to the table. This is what will give you an edge in the interview game.

Stay Tuned For Texas Hold 'Em and Interviews Part II!

© 2015 - All Rights Reserved - Sharon Cohen, MA,CPRP. Business Career Coach & Social Media Strategist.  Virtual Career Coaching: helping business professionals, reach their career potential!

• Sharon B. Cohen on LinkedIn http://www.linkedin.com/in/sharonbcohen/
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• Complete Archive of articles on My Career Manager http://www.mycareermanager.com/

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